July 28, 2011
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SPRINKLER SYSTEMS

Q. How do I know if my (building or home) needs a sprinkler system?
A. Calling a professional Fire protection Company is the best way to start. We are well versed in the current codes and regulations concerning requirement for different occupancies. A telephone call to the local or state fire marshal can be helpful as well.

Q. Why are sprinkler systems being made mandatory in new homes across the country?
A. Reasons are varied and manifold. Life safety is number one, and the fact that no one has ever died of fire in a properly sprinklered building should be reason enough. Remember that a sprinkler system is intended to extinguish or at least control the spread of fire giving occupants time to evacuate and for the fire department to respond. This if further supported by the fact that fires can spread from one building to another endangering the people next door.

Q. How do sprinkler systems work?
A. Automatic fire sprinklers are individually heat activated and attached to a network of piping under water pressure. When the heat of a fire rises to the Sprinkler Headís operating temperature  (usually 155 degree F), a fusible link will operate or a glass bulb filled with liquid will burst that will release the water to extinguish the fire. It only takes one or two sprinklers to operate normally.

Q. Do fire sprinklers cause widespread water damage?
A. Yes, they do but the cost of cleaning up after the fact is far less than anything caused by fire damage.

Q. What is a fire department connection?

A. A Fire Department Connection is Connection located on the outside of the building, (preferable where the Fireman can see) that Fireman hook up to, in order to pump water into the building to help fight the fire. 


Q. Are sprinkler fire protection systems expensive?
A. The prices vary a lot, because every sprinkler system is unique. We would not dare to take a stance on the subject but suffice it to say that the short term cost can be offset by long term insurance premium reductions and the potential financial liabilities in the event that a fire actually occurs.

Q. Why do sprinkler fire protection systems need to be inspected?
A. The sprinkler system is only as good as its state of readiness. Periodic inspections often identify problems that occur over time such as sticky waterflow switches, clogged pipes, un-supervised valves that have been closed. Additionally, we find painted sprinkler heads and obstructions.

Q. Whatís the difference between a sprinkler system and a fire alarm system?

A. A fire alarm system provides early warning; a sprinkler system controls the spread of fire (if not extinguish it) until fire fighters arrive thus saving lives and property.

FIRE ALARM SYSTEMS

Q. How do I know if my building needs a fire alarm system?
A. The local fire department may require one based on occupancy and square footage, but it is safe to say that ALL buildings should have some level of protection - especially where people sleep.

Q. How often should my fire alarm be inspected?
A. It depends on your locality. Some states only require annual inspections, while others like Rhode Island may require quarterly inspections depending on the size of the system. The rule of thumb in RI is Semi-annual for local systems under 24 initiation devices, quarterly otherwise.

Q. Someone told me that smoke detectors must be replaced every 10 years. Is that true?
A. The 10-year replacement schedule is a recommendation based on a number of factors but not "code" in most municipalities.

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